When that picture is condensed into an objectively articulate image, something everyone can look at and appreciate at least as much as a map—even if it will never be nearly as useful—that sense of moral doubt is significantly reduced. It is almost as if, by constructing your statement logically and enunciating it clearly, you bring it into daylight. You do not turn the subject into an object the way empirical science does, but you produce a subjective object, an object that integrates bias as an essential part of its constitution, an object which—even though it remains an object—could never exist without the subject that brought it into reality: the signs, the letters, the language is utilized to a meaningful end.
بعد تمحيص وتقلب، أعتقد أن هذا هو السؤال الوحيد الحقيقي الذي يطرحه “الاستقلال الثاني” (وهي التسمية الأوقع من “الربيع العربي” إذا ما أردنا أن نحافظ على نظرتنا الإيجابية إلى “الثورات”):
For Mohab Nasr
All these years my friend
As though we’re here by mistake
Waiting until the roads clear
To drive unlicensed trucks
And face the border guards
With forced laughter and cash.
We dream of places that were they found
We’d be no good for, my friend,
Forced to mix with the statues
To swap their talk with them
To be jammed in among them
With frozen limbs, looking and not seeing,
Our heads bowed down at home
We excuse ourselves from going to the quarries
That we might try reproducing in secret,
Mourning our endangered line.
All these years plucking up the courage
To declare we are not statues
And then collapse in pieces from their plinths,
Dead with flattened heads,
With eyes bulging out like mother-of-pearl,
With holes in our bones.
How is it, my friend, after all these years
All we can utter is croaking?